RLUK Collections: a virtual tour of our shared treasures

Durham University Library and Collections is a member of Research Libraries UK (RLUK), a consortium of the most significant research libraries in the UK and Ireland. As many members entered lockdown in March, Dr David Prosser (Executive Director of RLUK) took a virtual tour of RLUK member’s special collections via Twitter (#RLUKCollections), including those at Durham University, to highlight just a small selection of the extensive, diverse, and unique collections held within the member libraries and archives.

We have (with permission) highlighted here Durham’s brief entry, and provided links to each of the others, as an opportunity to quickly sample some of the many treasures held within the British Isles.

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A book with a history

For the last few years, a team of rare books cataloguers has been working hard to record the volumes held at Ushaw College. The College closed as a Catholic seminary in 2011, but not before building up an impressive collection of rare materials over its nearly 200-year existence. The collection covers a wide range of subjects, from theology to natural history. And many have an interesting story to tell about themselves, such as this rather large volume.

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On serendipity and libraries…

Earlier this week, my son’s school played host to a visit from Martin Longstaff, who performs under the moniker of ‘The Lake Poets’. For any fans of quality football, this name may not be familiar – but for those who, like my son, support Sunderland AFC, you may recognise at least one his songs – “Shipyards” – which has been used as the theme song to the Netflix series “Sunderland til I die.”

In an interview a few years ago in the Guardian, Martin noted that the name for his musical persona came from a moment of serendipity whilst studying at a university not too far from this esteemed establishment.

“One day in the library at university Longstaff noticed a book, “It was called Recollections of the Lake Poets that explored the works of 19th century romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Coelridge, Southey… I read it and thought “The Lake Poets” would make a great band name.”

Brinnand, E ‘The Lake Poets – New Band Up North #37’ Guardian (30 Oct 2013)

A chance encounter in the library with a real world impact on the direction of a student’s trajectory through life.

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